Public Professional Prayers

I remember a number of years ago if you were publicly praying and used a phrase like, “God, shower us with your grace” you would get several confirming moans from the crowd, awestruck by with this catchy and poetic phrase. (Sometimes, if you were really wanted your ego stroked you would maybe say it two times in one prayer changing “grace” to “love.”)

A few years ago I found that if you ever prayed, “God, invade our space” this stylish yet picturesque phrase would conjure up a stir of rumblings from your “prayer audience,” and every now and then you could even get a “Yes, Lord!” from a praying member. (Extra points when someone yells out like this!).

I once tried to use this phrase in a prayer hoping I could sound like I was on the cutting edge of prayer phraseology, but instead I accidentally said, “God, be our space invader,” which doesn’t quite have the same ring to it (and conjures up in most people’s minds the tune of the beloved video game Space Invaders…duh, duh, duh, duh…duh, duh, duh, duh…).

A few months ago I was at a conference where the moderator closed things off with a prayer and slipped in the phrase, “God allow us to be a part of your redemptive touch.” The phrase “redemptive touch” sent electricity through the room, where some people almost fell to the ground. I knew if I were to bring this phrase back to my community setting I could raise the quality of my prayers to a whole new level.

So, I have now sprinkled the phrase “redemptive touch” in a few of my public prayers and my scorecard has been pretty good. I have gotten 4 groans, 3 moan, 2 “Yes Lord’s!,” and one person falling to the floor.

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6)

Yea….I suck.

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~ by Dave Smith on July 19, 2008.

5 Responses to “Public Professional Prayers”

  1. Amen brotha! Wonderful observation. 🙂

  2. people actually had some sort of visual/verbal response to a prayer at our church community? that is a miracle.

  3. Well, I grew up in a charismatic background… so if you think you have heard some good stuff – well, let’s just say I’ve heard some dandies too.

    In seriousness, however, do you think there is ever a time for poetic, artistic, creative expression in “public” prayer/worship? After all, isn’t that what the Song of Songs and the book of Psalms (and maybe Ecclesiastes and Job as well?) are all about?

    My experience with mainline Christians shows me that many of the large denominations in our country that are not as mainstream to us evangelicals value this type of express highly. Do you think the words of Jesus contradict this, or do they simply bring balance to people who are running away with themselves and their words instead of praying authentically?

  4. I couldn’t agree more with you Ben! Yes, for sure we need poetic, metaphoric, and image-based prayers. We need more of them! I even say in certain corporate settings they should be VERY well thought through and written down (with the leading the Spirit), as you lead an entire congregation through keys prayers for hearts and the direction of the church.

    Definitely not saying anything about content, but more about motive.

    In the high-performance setting that I minister within, it is real easy to lose focus and get caught up in simply trying to WOW people or “say the right things” instead of just focusing on the subject and object of our prayers.

    In light of your questions, I think Jesus was definitely addressing motive, heart, and hypocricy, but not content.

  5. Interesting observations…I liken this to those who used to pray in the language of KJV.

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